Natural rubber/isora fibre composites were cured at various temperatures. The solvent swelling characteristics of natural rubber composites containing both untreated and alkali treated fibres were investigated in aromatic and aliphatic solvents like toluene, and 𝑛-hexane. The diffusion experiments were conducted by the sorption gravimetric method. The restrictions on elastomer swelling exerted by isora fibre as well as the anisotropy of swelling of the composite have been confirmed by this study. Composite cured at 100°C shows the lowest percentage swelling. The uptake of aromatic solvent is higher than that of aliphatic solvent for the composites cured at all temperatures. The effect of fibre loading on the swelling behaviour of the composite was also investigated in oils like petrol, diesel, lubricating oil etc. The % swelling index and swelling coefficient of the composite were found to decrease with increase in fibre loading. This is due to the increased hindrance exerted by the fibres at higher fibre loadings and also due to the good fibre–rubber interactions. Maximum uptake of solvent was observed with petrol followed by diesel and then lubricating oil. The presence of bonding agent in the composites restrict the swelling considerably due to the strong interfacial adhesion. At a fixed fibre loading, the alkali treated fibre composite showed lower percentage swelling compared to the untreated one.
Volume 43, 2020
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